Single Review: Chris Stapleton, “Parachute”

Chris Stapleton

Written by Jim Beavers and Chris Stapleton

With a fiery vocal performance and a relentless percussion track that evokes a stampede of horses, “Parachute” might best be described as Country Rock & Western.

Chris Stapleton sells a pretty good song above its grade level, knowing to enunciate the strongest line of the chorus – “Falling feels like flying till you hit the ground” – and relying on raw emotion to deliver the rest.

I’ve got to go back to that percussion track because it really is borrowed from the Western part of what was once called Country & Western, and without it, I don’t know that this record could stake any claim to a country music connection. It gives the record its urgency and its identity.

Stapleton has artistic credibility to burn, and the reasons for that go beyond his talents as a singer and a songwriter. He knows which traditions to borrow from better than most of his contemporaries, and that level of good taste helps him get away with being no less tangentially connected to country music than everything else on the radio today.

He just has the good sense to mix country music with something strong and potent – whiskey instead of water, if you will.

Grade: B+


  1. I’ll admit it: I’m a party pooper when it comes to Chris Stapleton. Traveller did pretty much nothing for me as an album and repeated listens haven’t made it any better. That being said, “Parachute” stood out immediately to me. It was the only song on the album (with the possible exception of “Nobody To Blame”) that had some real pulse and drive to it. Everything else was just so sparse and limp or meandering, but “Parachute” showed what Stapleton could do with more muscle in his music, and I wish we could have more tracks like this from him.

  2. I agree with SRM. Outside of “Nobody to Blame” and “Was it 26”, you can have the rest. A far better album – i think released about the same time – is Don Henley’s “Cass County”.

  3. I love Stapleton, but I do find myself going back to the Steeldrivers albums more often than this one. “Traveller” could stand to shed 10-15 minutes off the run time, easily. That said, I agree his musical instincts are as good as anyone’s right now.

  4. Well, it does seem to me that this, along with “Nobody To Blame”, does set Stapleton way apart from most every other male artist out there at the moment, because he understands how to out a grittiness into country while tapping into blues, rock, and R&B influences like few in the last fifteen years. And even if he may have been responsible for the writing of a few “bromides” for others, on his own he seems to be very much his own man.

  5. This and “Fire Away” are the only songs I like off the album but, boy, do I love both.

    This is my favorite country single of the year so far.

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